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Christchurch teacher launches first kiwi accented phonics app

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

"It’s hard for kiwi kids to learn their sounds correctly when educational phonics apps have American or British or Australian accents", says creator and phonics teaching expert Yolanda Soryl. "It’s the vowels that trip our tamariki up. So, teachers asked me to come up with a kiwi alphabet sounds app that tamariki could revise their sounds with at school and at home."

The app took 8 years to bring to fruition. "Most educational apps are done by app companies, not teachers," says Yolanda. "So they don’t always hit the mark on the learning side. I’m an experienced teacher of phonics, so I knew how to make it educationally sound. But I had to learn a lot on the tech side."

A kiwi boy is the voice behind the app sounds. The Alphabet Sounds app also uses Māori words of encouragement. The lessons follow the phonics lesson format of learning how to hear, read and write the alphabet sounds that Yolanda has taught to 20,000 teachers and teacher aides in New Zealand over the last 16 years.

The Alphabet Sounds app launch has just been announced to teachers and parents this week. They are receiving it with praise and relief that they have a new learning tool for children to use in lockdown.

A free lite version of the Alphabet Sounds App is available on Google Play and the Apple Store. It costs $3.46 for the full version for one year.

ABOUT: Yolanda Soryl divides her teaching time between teaching at Ao Tawhiti School in Christchurch and working with teachers nationally to bring phonics into their existing literacy programmes.

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